Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tips for Potty Training

Since Leah's been potty trained, I have had a few friends ask me how we did it. Potty training is definitely a daunting task, but there are ways to make it slightly easier. Every child will have a different path, but here are a few tips that helped us.

1. Don't force it too early. When Leah was 18 months, we bought a mini potty and introduced it to her. We casually placed her on it to get her familiar with the action, but she never actually went. A couple months earlier, we tried to be more persistent and it ended up backfiring. She refused to sit on the potty and often ran out of the bathroom. At that point we decided to hold off. At around 2.5 years, Leah's daycare teacher told us she thought Leah was ready since she'd been having dry diapers. We decided to try the 3-day method and picked a weekend to dedicate to potty training.  We left Leah loose around the house bare-bottomed, and I was terrified! After one day and one accident, she got it. Since then we've only had a handful of accidents. {She still wears pull-ups at nighttime} Waiting until she was ready rather than we when wanted her to be ready, made the process 100x easier!

2. Make successes a big deal! Whenever Leah successfully peed or pooped in the potty, we did a big song and dance, she got to put a stamp on her "success chart," and we gave her an M&M. That made her really excited and motivated. Even her day care teachers commented that her enthusiasm made some of the other kids in her class want to go potty! 

3. Downplay accidents. Even though it's not fun to have to clean up an accident, we made sure not to show any type of disappointment. Leah already felt embarrassed/disappointed in herself when she knew she had an accident, so we didn't want to make her feel even worse. We didn't ignore it, but rather told her that it was okay and to just try again next time. 

4. Be prepared when you leave the house. Leaving the house with a toddler who was just potty-trained is terrifying, but you pretty much have to expect that an accident will happen and be prepared for it. We try to have extra clothes in the car at all times. We carried around a travel potty top to make going potty in a public restroom a little easier. We stopped using it once she learned how to support herself with her legs. I also know people who use the Potette Plus for emergencies like when the public restroom is closed or too dirty. When your toddler is busy playing, don't forget to remind them to use the potty. If you're going on a long car ride, you may want to consider putting your toddler in a pull-up if he/she naps frequently on car rides or make frequent pit stops. 

Good luck!

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